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You are in Type 2: Perimenopause – the menopausal transition

The end stage of a woman’s reproductive life is surrounded by a poorly defined interval known as perimenopause. Although normal, this phase is associated with declining sex hormones (estrogen) and a corresponding fall in your ability to get pregnant. It can be a perplexing period in a woman’s life but you can learn how best to get through it.

Perimenopause describes the transformation from reproductive to non-reproductive life in a woman which comes with considerable physiological changes. You’ll frequently hear this phase called the menopause transition.

Perimenopause ends when you haven’t seen your period for at least a year. Retrospectively, when your last menstrual period (LMP) was 12 months ago, then it becomes your final menstrual period (FMP) and you’re now postmenopausal.

How do I know I’m perimenopausal?

If you’re not anticipating perimenopausal symptoms, it may put you on edge and you think it’s a serious problem whereas, it is in fact, normal and natural.

Many women are unaware that their hormones are responsible for the emotional and physical changes they’re experiencing. Truly, some perimenopausal symptoms can be genuinely terrifying but having this knowledge can help prevent needless anxiety. The common symptoms in this phase include;

IRREGULAR PERIOD: The earliest sign of perimenopause is irregular periods. Your cycle length may be longer or shorter, there maybe heavy bleeding and even spotting. If you’re having a consistent change of up to seven days in your cycle length then you’re likely at perimenopause.
VASOMOTOR SYMPTOMS: Vasomotor symptoms of perimenopause are hot flashes and night sweat. This is the most frequently reported symptom of perimenopause. As much as 80% of women in this phase experience it with moderate to severe intensity. Studies show that the average episodes of flushes experienced each day is 4 to 5 while 1 in 4 women have hot flashes every single day. In general, about half of women who experience hot flashes have mild severity. The occurrence of hot flashes rise during perimenopause and peaks just before the final menstrual period. It tends to be most intense also at this point before it gradually drops in the years after menopause.
SLEEP DISTURBANCES: While hot flashes are an important marker, they aren’t the only pointer of perimenopause. Sleep disorders are commonly reported. It can be as a result of advancing age but women are generally twice as affected as men, particularly in this phase. It may take long periods of time to fall asleep, you may have difficulty falling back asleep or sleeping through the night after being awakened too soon.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS: Mood changes such as anxiety and depression may manifest in perimenopause. Anxiety symptoms can include panic attacks, nervousness and worry while signs of depression range from low mood to lack of energy. The prevalence of depression among women doubles in this phase of life. If you have struggled with anxiety or depression before, a recurrence is possible. Furthermore, memory loss is the second most common perimenopausal symptom and its intensity can be alarming. Brain fog as it is called – when memory loss is coupled with confusion and poor concentration, is most intense during perimenopause and may persist shortly into postmenopause.
UROGENITAL SYMPTOMS: You could experience urine leakage or incontinence, especially if you’ve had one or more vaginal deliveries in your lifetime. At the same time, declining estrogen may cause your vaginal tissues to lose elasticity (called Vaginal Atrophy) and lubrication resulting in painful intercourse. For the same reason, you may be more susceptible to vaginal infections or urinary tract infections. These particular symptoms start in perimenopause but could increase in intensity in the years after menopause.
BONE LOSS & JOINT PAIN: Perimenopause, due to declining estrogen, is also associated with reduced bone density, putting you at risk of osteoporosis, or fragile bones. Estrogen protects against inflammation in the joints, so joint pain is common in this phase too with aches, stiffness and swelling. If you start experiencing joint pain in this phase, it may not go away after menopause but there are ways to adjust and deal with it.
OTHER SYMPTOMS: While the above, are the most common (and scary) symptoms, there are a number of other symptoms that characterizes perimenopause. Cardiovascular disease risks increase considerably during this period and also post menopause. Some other symptoms include, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, irregular heartbeat, gum problems etc.

How long does perimenopause last?

Women enter into this phase at different ages. Its duration also varies. Harvard health puts the average duration as 3 to 4 years but it may continue for up to a decade. According to Mayo clinic, you may begin experiencing overt perimenopausal changes as early as in your mid-30s.

Perimenopause has an early and late phase where symptoms graduate in frequency and intensity. Each woman’s experience is different.

What we recommend

Your symptoms are here and they may just be in full capacity in this phase. There may be a myriad of symptoms to deal with but don’t panic. Don’t simply endure the difficulty; deal with it because you can.

Keep a journal to track your menopause symptoms: These changes come on gradually so you may not initially notice that they are related to the same issue, especially if you aren’t anticipating them. Monitor your menstrual cycles closely and keep a record of any changes you notice to your period and other symptoms. This will come in handy when discussing it with your GP.
Discuss Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your GP: HRT is a common prescription at this stage. It can be administered as pills, skin patches, sprays, or creams that delivers a dose of estrogen needed to relieve your symptoms. But it comes with it’s own side effects, so needs a honest and straightforward discussion with your GP.
Bone Density Scans: We encourage perimenopausal women to do a bone density scan. This helps to detect the rate bone loss and correct it before it gets out of hand.
Exercise: Exercise improves your mood, increases joint flexibility and offers you more energy. It reduces the sleeplessness and weight gain that accompanies menopause. Moreover, exercises that involve weightlifting helps prevent bone density loss and thus preventing or at the least controlling the onset of osteoporosis. If joint pain is an issue, then you might have to choose low impact exercises that helps improve mobility in the area of concern.
Eat healthy: A healthy diet can work miracles. Chronic inflammation which results in making many of the menopausal symptoms worse is associated with a diet high in carbs, sugar, unhealthy fats and low in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and healthy fats.
● Oat meal, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and other whole-grain foods should be your regular, they are high in fibre and other nutrients. Mediterranean diets, that are high in leafy greens, sea food, lean meats are anti-inflammatory and can help with a number of the symptoms of perimenopause.
● Our entirely natural Glucosamine Complex is designed specifically to provide relief from joint pain and stiffness that might occur during this phase. Other natural treatments for joint pain can be found HERE
● Support your high fibre diet with the help of Love Thy Gut our award winning organic high-fibre and prebiotics superfood powder and a go-to for 1000’s of women for a healthy digestive tract.
Vaginal Lubricants and moisturisers: Water-based lubricants or moisturizers can ease vaginal discomfort and dryness. These lubricants can also help reduce discomfort during sex.
● Since it is common to have urinary tract infections in this stage, you’ll find this D-Mannose Complex good for your bladder health. Other natural treatments for UTI infections, can be found HERE
Poor Sleep can make your other symptoms worse. So, tackling poor sleep is crucial. Meditation, breathing techniques and proper sleep hygiene habits can all help improve sleep. Try our Free Sleep Training, filled with expert advice and tools to help improve your sleep. If you prefer a natural sleep aid to address sleep problems then consider our Cosmic Calm. It is an entirely natural herbal sleep aid, that is expertly formulated to help improve your sleep quality by calming you down and helping the body produce more melatonin.